Benin — FORMER Chairman of Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State and chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. John Yakubu, has faulted the comments credited to the state chairman of Labour Party, Elder Sam Omede, which cast doubt on the sincerity of Governor Adams Oshiomhole to conduct free and fair elections in the 18 local government areas of the state.
Omede had challenged the governor to assure the people of his sincerity to conduct free and fair elections, alleging that the demand by the state Board of Internal Revenue of tax clearance fee of N466,000 from councillorship aspirants and N750,000 from chairmanship aspirants, was a ploy by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN-led government to scare away contestants from other parties in the state.
Yakubu, who also is a PDP chairmanship aspirant, told Vanguard, yesterday, that "it is still very premature for him to start doubting the governor. What we should all do is to prepare for the elections first and not to say whether it will be free and fair. If I know that the elections will not be free and fair, I don't think I will have any business contesting.
"This is purely a local government election and only the people will decide. Some of the people complaining now may not be able to sponsor candidates, so I think it is unfair to begin now to doubt the sincerity of the governor, when the election is still two months away. I have not seen any reason now to doubt the governor because things are going on well for now. Let all the political parties prepare first for the elections and not complain unnecessarily ."
On the tax clearance issue, Mr. Yakubu, said: "Every responsible individual or politician should know that paying taxes as at when due is a civic responsibility. May be, they are collecting N466,000 because you did not pay as at when due, so no body can ask me to pay such an amount. As a matter of fact, if they are asking you to even pay that amount, they are being liberal because as a politician who knows that you will run for election, you should know that tax clearance is very important."